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Cities Brace for Floods as Heavy Storms Drench China

Rescue services braced for flooding as heavier-than-expected summer storms rolled across China as forecast Friday, drenching Beijing and other major cities.

Historically, China enters its peak rainy season in late July, but extreme weather has made storms more intense and unpredictable, exposing heavily built-up megacities with poor drainage to sudden floods and waterlogging.

In Beijing this week, authorities have deployed more than 2,600 people to drain 87 pumping stations in advance and clear thousands of water drainage outlets along roads, municipal authorities said in a statement Friday.

A total of 19 bus routes serving the suburbs and mountainous areas have also been suspended, Beijing Public Transport said in a social media post.

Authorities in the neighboring city of Tianjin have ramped up flood control efforts in the Hai basin, a major drainage system in northern China, where floods could happen from Friday until Sunday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Officials have warned repeatedly that China is especially vulnerable to the impact of climate change due to its large population and unevenly distributed water supplies, even as infrastructure is built and policies are rolled out to bolster climate resilience.

Rainfall of up to 13 centimeters is expected in central Hebei, southeast Beijing, southern Tianjin and other places until Saturday morning, the national weather bureau said.

Parts of Inner Mongolia, Hebei and Shanxi, and some areas in the central provinces of Henan and Hubei will also experience heavy rainfall, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

In eastern Jiangsu province, social media clips showed a waterfall forming from flood waters at a high-speed railway station in Wuxi city.

An observatory in a county in northwestern Gansu province issued its most severe rainstorm warning on Thursday night, warning of potential disasters such as river floods, waterlogging, mountain torrents, landslides and mudslides from heavy rainfall.

In May 2021, extreme cold weather unexpectedly struck an ultramarathon in Gansu, killing more than 20 people in one of the deadliest sporting tragedies in recent history.

In July 2021, extreme rain in the central Henan city of Zhengzhou killed nearly 400 people, including 14 who drowned in a submerged subway line. More rain had fallen over three days than what the city gets in a year.

Source : VOA News